Anthony Martial is in the best form of his career, netting 23 goals this season so far.
The Frenchman is flourishing under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the United manager key to his turnaround.
Even prior to Martial being backed with a return to his former number nine shirt last summer, Solskjaer took a significant step.
It was in January 2019 while Solskjaer was still interim manager that Martial was convinced to sign a new contract at Old Trafford.
Prior to this, under Jose Mourinho, Martial had been reluctant to commit his future to the club.
Speaking at the time, Solskjaer was clearly delighted to tie Martial’s future down. It felt like a significant step.
Manager and player working together
Solskjaer’s words, quoted by SkySports 18 months ago, spoke volumes about his faith in Martial’s ability.
He said: “Anthony is one of those naturally gifted players that any coach would love to work with.
“For a young man, he has a good footballing brain which, when coupled with his exceptional talent, makes for a player with an exciting future ahead of him.
“This is the perfect club for Anthony to progress his development as a top-class forward and we are all delighted he has signed a long-term deal.”
Solskjaer’s words at the time were exactly what United fans wanted to hear, and Martial will have appreciated them too.
It is this faith from his manager which has helped Martial become such a success at United this season.
He is thriving in a centre-forward role which he was not trusted in on a regular basis by former manager Jose Mourinho.
Martial often had to settle for a spot on the bench, and did so when United were knocked out of the Champions League by Sevilla in 2018.
Now as United prepare to face the same side in the 2020 Europa League semi-finals, Martial is locked in as a certain starter.
Perhaps Martial’s prediction will come true
Martial also had a few words to say in January 2019 when he signed his new deal.
He spoke thankfully towards Solskjaer, and gave indication that he believed United were building towards winning trophies again.
Martial told the club website: “I would like to thank Ole and his coaching staff for their belief in me and for helping me to take my game to the next level.
“This club is all about winning trophies and I am sure the next piece of silverware is not that far away.”
United may be just a week away perhaps. The Europa League semi-final is on Sunday night, with the final next Friday if United can get there.
If United are successful, then expect Anthony Martial to play a major part.
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